LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: General view inside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Everton and AFC Bournemouth at Goodison Park on February 4, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Premier League release statement as Everton plan for Goodison derby

But police chief's comments have raised prospect of the derby being played at a neutral venue


Premier League release statement as club currently planning for Goodison derby

All planning for the 236th Merseyside derby has so far centred around the game being played behind closed doors at Goodison

Everton are due to host Liverpool on Saturday, June 20 after all Premier League clubs approved a provisional timetable for the season to resume.

But comments from football's head of police, Mark Roberts, today suggest the derby could yet be played at a neutral venue.

In a statement issued this afternoon, however, the Premier League have said: "We are working with our clubs to ensure risks are assessed and minimised, while co-operating with the police at a local and national level.

"Discussions with the National Police Chiefs' Council and UK Football Policing Unit have been positive and are continuing. We are prepared for all outcomes and have a neutral venue contingency."

Everton met with the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) last week and talks centred around how the club would host the game, without supporters inside the ground, at Goodison.

The club have not yet formally discussed the possibility of the game being switched but the ECHO understands that the Blues expect clarity over the approved venue for the game with Liverpool by the end of next week.

However Roberts' comments have made the police's stance clear with the derby believed to one of a "small number" of matches being pencilled in to be hosted at neutral venues.

He said: “The majority of remaining matches will be played at home and away as scheduled, with a small number of fixtures taking place at neutral venues, which, contrary to some reports, have yet to be agreed.

“The views and agreement of forces which host Premier League clubs have been sought and where there were concerns, the Premier League has been supportive in providing flexibility in arranging alternative venues where requested.

“This plan will be kept continually under review to ensure public health and safety and a key part of this is for supporters to continue to respect the social distancing guidelines, and not to attend or gather outside the stadiums.”

Sky Sports have announced they are due to show the derby as one of their 25 free-to-air games but a kick-off time has yet to be confirmed.

The Premier League said matches taking place on Saturdays could kick-off at either 12:30pm, 3pm, 5:30pm or 8pm.